Second place never felt so good – July 27, 2015

Champions are not the ones who always win races – champions are the ones who get out there and try. And try harder the next time. And even harder the next time. ‘Champion’ is a state of mind.” Simon Sinek, author and leadership scholar

Back when I was lucky enough to work every day with some of the greatest sports writers who covered the NBA, guys like Mike Monroe, Dave Krieger, Mark Kiszla, Bob Ryan, Jan Hubbard, Eddie Sefko, Mark Vancil and so many other stud reporters, one of the things I heard more than once was that when something incredible happened it made it so their stories practically wrote themselves.

Today’s blog post fits in that category.

We held our weekly Monday morning kickoff breakfast with the therapy parents and it was another goosebump-inducing session of sharing and community. One of our mom’s, Maureen, gave a moving speech about the impact Adam’s Camp has had on her family that was a ringing endorsement of how Adam’s Camp builds connections that last far beyond a week long camp. It was another great reminder of all the brilliant, subtle ways the Adam’s Camp model strengthens families.

As great as the breakfast was, the incredible thing happened as everybody was leaving to go about their days. Two of our parents shared with us a “Special Things I’ve Done” list they discovered their 8-year-old daughter had written at school for a class assignment:


I have never been more excited about a second place finish – Adam’s Camp came in No. 2 only behind Hershey the dog, but we did manage to beat out two trips to Disney World, the birth of a new cousin and Zumba. Not to bury the lead, but we beat Disney!

To know that one of our campers holds us in such high esteem is supremely humbling. And as I was reading the list, to have another family come up and tell me how much Adam’s Camp has changed their lives was just one of those take-your-breath-away moments where I have to stop, give thanks and remind myself to never take this level of joy for granted. Before rolling through this first summer of Adam’s Camp I did not fully understand how far the work that goes on here ripples through the lives of our families, but when you read how an 8-year-old ranks you ahead of Disney, I am pretty sure that means our team is doing something right.

The great capper to Mondays this summer has always been our big adventure dance. The best part of this dance by far is how the volunteers, as directed by our counselors, “check their ego at the door” and engage with the campers. Watching these mostly high school age volunteers be not at all concerned with “being cool” or worry what others might think about them gains them huge admiration from the campers – and from me.

It is a very selfless act for these young volunteers to shed the social armor they regularly wear in their teen years in an attempt to make the campers feel better and have a good time. A great example tonight was a tall, reserved volunteer came out of his shell and became more flamboyant with each passing song. As he was grooving, it was great to see him become more comfortable in his own skin right in front of my eyes, which will help his self-confidence in all parts of his list.

Tomorrow brings trips to Grand Lake, horseback riding, climbing, camp fires, sailing, go-kart racing and parent’s night out with free babysitting.

Better watch out, Hershey, we are gunning for No. 1.

Adam’s Camp Executive Director Jay Clark is blogging regularly from Snow Mountain Ranch – usually late at night, so pardon any typos.

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